I was recently inspired to write this blog due to one of our youngest hires at TG displaying critical traits for scale-up success. Here’s to you…
It’s a common misconception that all start-ups need the same recipe for success and face the same challenges. Every business model, market and product(s) are usually different, and a cookie cutter approach doesn’t always work. Additionally with start-ups taking their own approach to either office based, hybrid working, or work from anywhere add variations to the strategies.
However, once a start-up has identified their uniqueness to their model, mission and strategy there are a few things you need to double down on and agree on fast.
- How you ‘select’ – the hires you need that support the strategy
- How you ‘behave’ – what unify such hires that support the strategy (e.g. values)
- How you ‘embed’ – what leadership, processes and rituals embed and mature the behaviours and decision making that support the strategy
When we look at TG, there are a few things unique to us as a start-up. We’re international by default, we’re remote first, we’re a PAAS company and we’re growing faster than your typical R&D or AI start-up. This means we recognise we’re ‘scaling up’.
In such companies typically the three ‘C’s come to mind as the core ingredients to this sort of recipe.
Let’s break this down in more detail as to why this is key…
Collaboration – being international, distributed, and being tightly coupled together in our efforts, above all else collaboration is king. This means that we need to test and hire for collaborative people, reflect this in our values, and review, reward and role model against this. Working in siloes by function and entity/office does not scale this sort of business model.
Change – with a company growing inside and outside (in the market) as fast a TG change is also a winning ingredient for us. This means that every hire must be not only used to but embrace regular change. This means an open mind and open heart (trust) to experiment with change. Changes made will sometimes work, and sometimes fail fast, but standing still is a surety that innovation will not happen. The things we’re building right now, will be ‘old school’ next year, and this continuous change is key to success.
Communication – we’re remote first and working with people across MENA and the UK. In such environments, we must recognise that communication is critical to support our speed and likelihood of ‘right first time’ when we do something as a team. Leveraging and practicing your written communication and formatting is key, shared and open access to documented information and channels is critical (word of mouth transfer of knowledge isn’t scalable or suits our model). This also reduces meetings and gives you time back to do your best work!
The reason this blog is titled ‘scale-up’ success over start-up is because you can have a very successful start-up of people in the same room, where some of these behaviours may not be critical. But if you’re lucky enough to gain the traction and investment to scale, the three ‘C’s will become the focus of your start-up’s attention as it changes into a ‘scale up’. Embrace it.